Matthew Poole Commentary - Matthew 12:40 - 12:40

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Matthew Poole Commentary - Matthew 12:40 - 12:40


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Ver. 39,40. An evil and adulterous generation; either called adulterous for that specific sin, which reigned amongst them, and indeed their polygamy was hardly better; or else because of their degeneracy from Abraham, whom they so much gloried in as their father, Joh_8:39,44.



Seeketh after a sign; not satisfied with my miracles which I do on earth, they would have a sign from heaven. God was not difficult of confirming and encouraging people’s faith by signs; he gave Gideon a sign upon his asking, he gave Hezekiah and proffered Ahaz a sign without asking; but he had already given the Pharisees signs enough, and sufficient to convince them, but they would not believe, but out of curiosity would have a sign of another kind, a sign from heaven, as Mark expounds it, Mat_8:11, such a sign as the devil could not counterfeit.



There shall no sign be given to it; no sign of that nature, for we shall find that after this Christ wrought many miracles. But they shall have a sign when I shall be risen again from the dead, to their confusion and condemnation; when I shall answer the prophet Jonah’s type of me. He was cast into the sea, and was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, in the heart of the sea, Jon_1:17, and then the whale vomited (him) out upon the dry land, Jon_2:10. So I shall be by them violently put to death and shall be in the grave part of three days and three nights, and then I shall rise again from the dead.



But here ariseth a difficulty. Christ indeed dying the day before the Jewish sabbath, and rising the morning after, might be said to be in the grave three days, because he was there part of three days; but how can he be said to have been there three nights? For he was only in the grave the night of the Jewish sabbath, (for their sabbath began at the evening before), and the night following, which were but two nights, either in whole or in part.



Answer: What we call day and night made up the Jewish nucyhmeron. It appears by Gen_1:5, that the evening and the morning made up a day. Three days and three nights is with us but the same thing with three natural days, and so it must be understood here. Christ was in the grave three natural days, that is, part of three natural days; every one of which days contained a day and a night, viz. twenty-four hours.